By Eric Elezuo
Most people proverbially ‘shine’ their eyes when choosing their career, and when they do, they loyally stick to it through thick and thin, giving their best to it and coming out the best in the profession. This is the story of Mr. Kennedy Uzoka, the General Managing Director/ CEO of UBA, who has had a lengthy career at the bank, and which over the course of two decades, has seen him at the helm of a number of critical departments. Prior to his appointment as GMD/CEO he was the Deputy Managing Director and CEO of UBA Africa. In fact, he grew through the ranks. He is reputed to be an engineer turned banker.
Kennedy Uzoka is a graduate of Mechanical Engineering from the University of Benin and holds a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from the University of Lagos. He also has a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting as well as a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Accountants of Nigeria. He also owns several certificates from the Harvard Business School in the following: The Advanced Management Program, Leadership in Financial Institutions Europe, Strategic HR in Transforming Organisations Course including Competition and Strategy. He was the best student in degree examinations in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Benin, Benin City (1987 session).
Uzoka has been with the UBA Group since 2006. He was the General Manager and Head of UBA Group South Bank cutting across the Eastern, Southern, Mid-Western and Western States of Nigeria. Prior to UBA’s Merger with Standard Trust Bank (STB), he was the Regional Director-South East, Vice President-Northern Nigeria, Chief Marketing Officer – Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Chief Marketing Officer, Lagos and later, the Managing Executive Officer at STB.
He also held the following positions Group Director, Resources, Group Human Resources Director, Executive Director, Resources, Deputy Managing Director UBA Bank for Africa. In addition to this he is also a member of the MasterCard Advisory Board Middle East & Africa (MEA). He is currently the Deputy Managing Director/CEO UBA Africa.
He is a Board Member of Central Securities Clearing System(CSCS) Limited; Fellow of Chartered Institute of Credit Administration(ICA); Director in Financial Institutions Training Center (FiTC); Registered Professional of Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria; Member of Institute of Directors (IoD).
A keen adaptor of technology and modernity, Mr. Uzoka has supervised two strategic support functions in the bank: Information Technology and E-Banking. Most recently, Mr. Uzoka has spearheaded the Customer Focused revolution in the bank which has created a fully digital, 24/7 user friendly experience that aims to anticipate and fulfil our customer’s expectations.
Mr. Uzoka’s career commenced at Standard Trust Bank where prior to the merger he served as Regional Director South East and Chief Marketing Officer of the bank. His extensive experience within UBA has given him a birds’ eye view of the organisation’s capabilities and he is committed to enhancing performance, delivery and processes to ensure that customers, large and small, investors and shareholders see UBA as their preferred financial institution. Prior to his role as CEO, UBA Africa he was Head of Strategy and Business Transformation, Head of Resources and supervised the bank’s businesses in New York and London.
He took the mantle of leadership from Phillips Oduoza, who retired as Group Managing Director and CEO on July 31, 2016 after completing two terms of three years each.
Until his resumption as the new GMD/CEO of UBA, Uzoka was the Deputy Managing Deputy of UBA, a position he held in the last six years, working closely with the former GMD/CEO.
His appointment as the new GMD is seen as a testimony to the strength of the bank’s succession planning process.
“Kennedy Uzoka’s appointment has once again proven the resilience of our succession planning process and the value we place on having in place a strong corporate governance system,” said Tony Elumelu, Chairman, UBA.
Uzoka comes well prepared for his new position. He has been leading the transformation agenda of the Bank, since returning from Harvard Business School.
Uzoka has over two and half decades of experience in commercial banking, strategy and business transformation.
Prior to his sabbatical at Harvard, Uzoka served as Deputy Managing Director, UBA Group and was also the CEO of UBA Africa, responsible for the group’s operations in 18 countries across Africa. A multiple award winner, Uzoka, has also supervised other key areas in the bank including e-banking and information technology in its New York and London offices in addition to strategic support groups such as human resources, legal advisory services, procurement and vendor management, corporate relations and marketing, among others.
As a well-rounded banker, Uzoka has had direct and oversight supervision of critical business functions like Group Treasury and International Financial Institutions and Transaction Banking, Pensions Custodian, Consumer Banking and Cash Management.
He was at various times Head, Strategy and Business Transformation; Regional Bank Head, South Bank covering 17 states in Southern part of Nigeria; Regional-Director South-east, Vice President Northern Nigeria, Chief Marketing Officer, Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Chief Marketing Officer, Lagos, and Managing Executive Officer respectively.
“Uzoka brings an extremely strong skill set and a wealth of financial services experience that will help the bank execute the next phase of its growth strategy. I have no doubt that he has the expertise and depth of business experience to ensure that the bank is best positioned to deliver on its strategic aspirations to be the most respected and trusted African financial brand globally,” Elumelu said.
Not only did he promised to build a bank based on a strong foundation of customer service, he has done all within his power to evolve a greater UBA through keeping closed to the bank’s customers. In his inaugural speech, he stated thus:
“We will stay close to our customers and do everything possible to serve them properly. Our customers will be the beginning, the middle and the end of our strategy.”